IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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LET’S face it…commercial fisheries have to some extent saved our sport.

But have they also ruined some aspects of fishing?

I have to say that in some cases the answer is that they have done us no favours.

I fish commercials and am not afraid to admit it. But I like the places where the rules are clear, they are not over-powering and – just as important – they are actually enforced.

I go fishing to enjoy myself. Bites and fish are actually third in line to being somewhere that I can actually enjoy the surroundings and know that I can pit my wits against my quarry as I enjoy nature.

So those venues that have become simply holes in the ground with no features and that look more like lunar landscapes have no place on my list of places to visit.

Somewhere that is well kept, has a few trees and bushes (preferably hanging over the water), some rushes, maybe a few lily pads and is obviously the pride and joy of the owners, scores heavily.

Yes, I will also give the thumbs up to a decent on-site tackle shop and somewhere to have some grub and a drink, soft or otherwise.

But I don’t want to fish a puddle where 90 per cent or more of my bites are going to come from a carp! I want to know when that tip goes round or the float goes under that the bite could be from a multitude of species.

In fact I love the chance to fish commercials that offer the chance of carp-free lakes – or ones that include just a few that test you and your tackle if you hook one.

“Do you mind if I use my mallet to bash our bivvy pegs in for the next half hour?”

The problem is that many of the new-breed of angler only know about sitting behind alarms and pods and sticking up a bivvy…even for a short day session.

I won’t name names here as what I am about to recount happens at a number of places (but if they spot themselves the owners need to take action).

On one small water last week the young lad two swims down from me was hammering in bivvy pegs like it was the end of the world. The sun was shining and he actually left after a few hours.

He’d caught nothing – no surprise as he looked like he was carp fishing in a lake that holds none! He was actually lucky that someone didn’t send him to swim with the fish the din he made.

When he departed we all caught a lot more. Maybe it was because we had calmed down and let the blood pressure settle, or because the seismic shudders had ceased!

Then there was the family outing…it was like a chavs’ picnic! You can imagine what that was like! Mums, dads, babies (yes babies!), teen girls walking around on their mobiles…oh and one lad and a dad fishing! I did learn from their loud voices that if something is on Facebook it has to be true!

Here’s the truth – I wish you had stayed away. I’m ready to set up a Facebook page to say a commercial fishery is not a place for a family picnic!

And whilst the rant is in full swing…our old friend was out in force at this venue too. LITTER!

My mate and I put all of our rubbish in a carrier bag every time and dump it in the bins or take it home. This time we collected more from others than we had created ourselves – and this despite the vigilant bailiffs visiting the water just a few hours earlier.

And finally a word about the Tango Kid! He was about seven-years-old, wore the brightest shirt you can imagine (think Holland football kit) and ran around the lakes as if he was training for a marathon.

There again maybe he could have made it at Triathlon. He could have brought his bike along and when he fell off it into the lakes practiced his swimming!

It was annoying. It shouldn’t happen. It spoiled the fishing. And it could have cost a life.

Eventually the bad behaviour could cost us fisheries or put a serious dent in the credibility of our sport.


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